Hong Kong Exchange, Banks Run Smoothly

HONG KONG (01/03/2000) - In their first regular business day of operation since the Year 2000 rollover, the engines of Hong Kong's economy were reported running smoothly, unaffected by four apparently minor problems that hit local government agencies.

Morning trading today on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong went smoothly, with no apparent Year 2000-related problems, according to an exchange representative.

Likewise, Hong Kong's Monetary Authority, which oversees banks in this Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, did not receive reports of any problems from the widely-feared computer glitch, according to an agency spokesman.

Banks' tests of all functions, including interaction with banks elsewhere, ran smoothly, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the SAR government reported a handful of likely Year 2000-related problems but said they did not significantly hamper services.

Computers at three agencies -- the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department, Auxiliary Medical Services and the Civil Service Training and Development Institute -- failed to display the correct date, according to a government statement.

In addition, police were unable to automatically enter birthdates into breath analyzers used in drink-driving investigations, the government said. Police are able to enter birthdates manually.

A government representative said officials are studying the problems to determine their causes.

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